CHARLOTTE, NC (March 5) – Anticipation continues to build for what looks to be one of the most exciting and competitive seasons yet for the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model division and the new PASS Pro Late Model division. PASS South has proven to be the place where top short track drivers from around the country come to compete on the Southeast’s toughest track. The PASS Pro Late Models will race as a companion series to PASS South and is already proving to be one of the top divisions for young racers just starting out.
The 16 race PASS South schedule kicks off this weekend at the demanding Dillon Motor Speedway with the 8th Annual South Carolina Clash and will be followed just a week later by the Bash At The Beach at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Both tracks have been very busy of late with teams preparing for these first two PASS South races on back-to-back weekends.
Since 2011, Brad Keselowski Racing has built a top notch Super Late Model team led by veteran head wrench Gary Crooks. Last year, the BKR team took its first ever Super Late Model victory in a PASS South event at South Boston Speedway with Landon Cling piloting the #29 entry. Cling finished fifth in final PASS South points, just edging out Iowa rookie Nate Caruth who finished sixth in the #19 BKR machine.
This year, Texas native Zak Hausler takes over the #19, while Maine racer Austin Theriault takes sole possession of the #29. Theriault has driven for BKR over the last few seasons, but will only be making his second ever PASS South start in this weekend’s South Carolina Clash. Theriault is not a stranger to PASS however. He won the PASS North season finale last year at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway. Theriault took full advantage of Dillon and Myrtle Beach’s close proximity and tested successfully at both speedways recently.
“I’m confident that with our hard work during the offseason and using last year’s success to build on our strong foundation, we can contend for wins wherever we go,” said Theriault. “I’m looking forward to Dillon and Myrtle Beach to get our year kicked off on the right foot. Both cars were great at the test.”
Speaking of rookies, in 2012 Kyle Grissom did what few thought was possible by taking the PASS South title in his first season of ever driving Super Late Models. While most thought he could make the transition from the heavier Late Model Stock cars to the sleeker, more powerful PASS South Super Late Models, no one could have guessed how much success Grissom and the Greg Marlowe team would have. With just three starts under his belt, Grissom took his first career PASS South checkered flag at Hickory Motor Speedway’s Easter Bunny 150. Then, he proceeded to make a little PASS South history. Grissom became the first driver to ever win three straight PASS South races and his five wins overall equaled Ben Rowe’s single season wins record set back in 2009. Now, with a successful 2012 season behind them, Grissom and the Harrison’s Workwear team come to Dillon anxious to defend their title as champions.
“There is always pressure showing up as the defending champion, but this is a new year and these PASS South drivers are always tough,” said Grissom. “I’m really excited to get back to Dillon after only racing there once last year. We are working on some different set ups, so I’m excited to see what we’ve got this year.”
One of the biggest surprises to come out of the 2012 season was the performance of Brandon Ward and the New Day Motorsports team. Always competitive but seeming to come up just short, the New Day Motorsports #62 and owner Jeff Day have raced with PASS South since the series started in 2006. But, things began to turn around when Ward joined the team in 2010 and by last year all the pieces seemed to be in place to make a run at the title. Ward took the #62 to victory lane twice last year, first at Wake County Speedway and then in the Firecracker 150 at Anderson Motor Speedway. It all began, though, with a good run in the South Carolina Clash. Ward led the most laps of the race at Dillon before fading to eighth in the final rundown. Now with a new car and more confidence than ever, Ward thinks 2013 could be his year.
“I’m really looking forward to the race at Dillon and getting the new season started,” said Ward. “I’m happy to be back with New Day Motorsports and having kpmoto.com, Kevin Powell Motorsports, and Foothill Ford back with us. Dillon is a fun racetrack and a great facility and it should be a great show for the fans.”
The 8th Annual South Carolina Clash once again starts the Super Late Model season in the Southeast and the field will be stacked with plenty of contenders for the win. Defending PASS National Jay Fogleman will be back not only looking for a win, but to set a course for the 2013 PASS South title. Two-time PASS National Champion and former South Carolina Clash winner Ben Rowe makes the long trip down from Maine in the hopes of early season success. Former PASS South winner Clay Rogers returns behind the wheel of the Coulter Motorsports entry. After a strong second place run in the PASS National season opener at Auburndale Speedway, Florida’s Joe Boyd heads to unfamiliar territory looking for similar results. Boyd will be joined by fellow Sunshine State driver Joseph Mursuli, who comes to PASS South from the Florida Truck ranks. The PASS South youth movement continues with the efforts of North Carolina’s Bobby Gower, Indiana youngster Karl Weber and home state driver Gus Dean. Veteran John Batten returns along with Justin Allison, Jimmy Doyle, Bill Catania “Krazy” Kevin Powell and a host of others hoping to start the season off at Dillon with a win.
The PASS Pro Late Models have attracted attention from young drivers all over the country hoping to continue their climb up the racing ladder in bigger, faster cars. These drivers will get their first chance of the season at Dillon Saturday night with a 75 lap test around the 4/10 mile egg-shaped oval. Tate Fogleman comes into the season with high hopes and a new look. Fogleman will be sponsored by Speedco for the full PASS Pro Late Model season and will make the switch from #4 to #8. But, he will have a stout field of challengers led by Trevor Noles in the Coulter Motorsports machine. Noles got a late start last season, but adapted quickly scoring wins at Hickory and Concord. Perhaps the driver with the most experience in the PASS Pro Late Model field at Dillon will be Darlington, SC’s Hayes Goodson. Goodson is a third generation racer and will sport the familiar blue #16 made famous by his father, Hal. Hayes Goodson has a number of laps around Dillon Motor Speedway and has multiple wins in the Supertruck and Late Model divisions. Hopes will also be high for young Harrison Burton. Harrison, the son of Sprint Cup winner Jeff Burton, will make his debut with the PASS Pro Late Models at Dillon this weekend. Jeff Batten, Walker Yates, Tyler Audie, Austin Reed, Collin Vernal, Nick Robinson and more will present quite a challenge when the green flag drops over an impressive field of PASS Pro Late Models on Saturday night.
South Carolina Clash action starts this weekend on Friday with rotating practice from 3-6:30 PM for the PASS South Super Late Models, PASS Pro Late Models, Allison Legacy, Legends, and Bandoleros. On Saturday, pit gates open at 9 AM, with rotating practice for all divisions from 11 AM to 2:40 PM, qualifying will be at 3:15 PM and main event racing will start at 5 PM.
Following the South Carolina Clash at Dillon, the PASS South Super Late Models and PASS Pro Late Models move to Myrtle Beach Speedway on March 16 for the Inaugural Battle At The Beach. Dillon Motor Speedway owner Ron Barfield will be keeping his track open for a few days after the South Carolina Clash and will make his race shop available for any out-of-town teams planning to race at Myrtle Beach.
Fans are encouraged to check out the Run To The Sun XXV car show held in Myrtle Beach on March 14-16 by the Pee Dee Street Rodders. Vendors and fans who attend the car show will have the opportunity to pick up discount coupons for the PASS race at Myrtle Beach Speedway that weekend. PASS will also have an awards presentation for our 2012 competitors during the “Pit Party” prior to the Bash At The Beach green flag.
PASS South Super Late Model entry forms for the Dillon, Myrtle Beach and Hickory events as well as the 2013 PASS license forms for all divisions can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com.
The Pro All Stars Series is recognized as North America’s premier sanctioning body for asphalt Super Late Models and boasts such marquee events as the PASS Northwest Triple Crown at Wenatchee Valley Super Oval, PASS South’s Easter Bunny 150 at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway, the Autobus La Qubecoise Triple Crown at Autodrome Chaudiere, and the legendary TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway.